TSTM Resource Toolkit Image

News! 2021 Teaching the Skills That Matter in Adult Education (TSTM)

Virtual Conference, June 15 and 16, 2021

Over 1,500 adult educators registered for this FREE premier professional development opportunity in 2020.

Be a part of it. Register Here!

H​​​osted by the Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), under contract with the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

What is Teaching Skills That Matter? In July 2020, ACLS joined a team of eight states participating in the Teaching the Skills That Matter (TSTM) in Adult Education project . This project, led by American Institute for Research (AIR) and the Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), trains teachers to integrate the skills that matter to adult students using approaches that work across critical topic areas. Using the project's tools and training, adult education teachers can teach the transferable skills students need in these critical contexts.

9 Skills

5 Topic Areas

3 Approaches

  1. Adaptability & willingness to learn
  2. Communication
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Interpersonal skills
  5. Navigating systems
  6. Problem solving
  7. Processing & analyzing information
  8. Respecting differences & diversity
  9. Self-awareness
  1. Civics education
  2. Digital literacy
  3. Financial literacy
  4. Health literacy
  5. Workforce preparation


  1. Integrated & contextualized learning
  2. Problem-based learning
  3. Project-based learning


See the link below to access the TSTM toolkit, free! 

Each participating TSTM state has a team of four lead teachers and a state team lead.

Massachusetts TSTM lead teachers:

  • Laura Porter, ESOL Teacher, Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center
  • Christa Exter, Math Teacher, Methuen Public Schools Adult Education
  • Brooke Machado, ELA Teacher, Boston Public Schools Adult Education
  • Lena Marecki, ESOL Teacher, Chelsea Public Schools Adult Education

A TSTM Team's Role:

The role of the MA TSTM team is to:

  • In collaboration with ACLS and SABES C&I PD centers,
    • Contribute to the development of  the TSTM implementation and sustainability plan. ACLS anticipates releasing this plan in early 2021.
    • Implement and sustain the TSTM plan for the next three years
  • Disseminate TSTM best teaching practices to adult education providers
  • Represent Massachusetts at national TSTM events

For questions related to TSTM in Massachusetts, please contact Dana Varzan-Parker, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Policy Coordinator and TSTM Team Lead, at dana.varzan-parker@mass.gov.

Topic Area
Civics and Citizenship
Curriculum Development
Education and Career Planning
Workforce Development
Media Type
Resource Type
PD Center
Adult and Community Learning Services